Obama Making Gains In Iowa

As we get ever closer to the day of the Iowa caucuses, it is looking as though Barack Obama is making the right progress at the right time, according a just released WaPo/ABC poll.

In the big question of the day, “If the caucuses were being held today… who would you support?” it looks as though Barack Obama is picking up support from people leaving Edward’s camp, the former Senator from North Carolina dropping four points while Obama picks up three.  But a closer look at the poll shows that there is even more room for Obama to increase his standing in Iowa before the caucus takes place.

Most notable would be Obama overtaking Hillary directly in the case of which candidate would be better prepared to handle the number one issue according to Iowa Democrats; the war in Iraq.  Here Hillary lost six points while Obama picked up nine.

Another interesting thing is in trustworthiness and in being willing to say what they really think on issues, Obama cleans Hillary’s clock.  While the race is still a statistical dead heat, there can be no such claims made as to which candidate Iowa caucus goers trust more.

But going back to the trio as a whole.  Edwards’ drop is most likely a result of the negativity of his campaign, and prior to last week’s debate, there was some question as to whether he would support Hillary should she win the nomination.  The chatter behind the scenes is that the real story of who hates who is not between Hillary and Obama, but instead between Edwards and Clinton.

Don’t misunderstand me, I think Edwards is still in it to win it, and there’s still plenty of time left for a miracle, but if data continues to move the way this poll suggests it will, Edwards as a candidate will become insignificant.  On the other hand, if he really is as opposed to Hillary’s nomination as some have rumored, there’s a great deal to be said if he starts working the trail in Obama’s favor.

UPDATE: In its own analysis of the poll, ABC offers up this paragraph:

ENGAGED — It’s equally clear that these Democrats are highly engaged. Fifty-three percent of likely caucus-goers are following the race very closely, more than double the level of attention among all Democrats nationally.

I will cede that this may be wishful thinking, but I want to examine this much more closely.  Nationally, Hillary Clinton is well ahead of Obama, compared to this poll in where they are statistically tied.

But Also keep in mind that nationally, Democrats are not nearly as engaged as they are in Iowa right now.  As a result, the comparison as it stands now shouldn’t be analogous, or, put differently, it’s reasonable to say that the reason Iowa is polling so differently is not because there’s something in the water, or Iowa Democrats are all living in a bubble.

On the contrary, perhaps the very opposite is true.  With the rest of the nation not paying as close attention as Iowa, this could account for the disparity in polling data between Iowa and the rest of the country.  Thus, if and when Democrats in other states get closer to their own primaries and start to pay more attention to the campaigns, it is feasible that we might see at least some of these states shift to be more in line with Iowa.

It’s just a thought.

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